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Constitution of little animals


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#1 Gollum

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Posted 25 January 2014 - 09:48 AM

Hey guys!

One of my player's character has a cat and I'm trying to write down its stats. My player intend to bring him in a D&D like adventure and, after all, it will be very funny to have some combats with it!

This is a cat, so it is supposed to have few hit points because it is little. But here, I noticed a problem with the rules. Little creatures, to have few hit points, also have a low Constitution score. See the venomous snake description for instance (Big Golden Book, page 338).

For Hit points, this is not a problem. But it is for all the rest. Because it means that little creatures are necessary sickly. Feeble Stamina, feeble resistance to poisons, feeble resistance to illnesses, etc.

I a snake, or a cat, or any other little creatures necessarily supposed to be much sicklier than a human? Aren't creatures who survive in wilderness without any medicine not supposed to be healthier than humans, to the contrary?

#2 rust

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Posted 25 January 2014 - 11:13 AM

Since all animals are able to survive in their specific environments I usually give them
a Constitution of 10 for everything relating to their health. For example, the snow owls
in my arctic Asornok setting have Con 6/10, with the 10 used for Stamina rolls.
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#3 Atgxtg

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Posted 25 January 2014 - 02:17 PM

Yeah Gollum, you're onto something.

In old RQ, most creatures had a CON of 3D6. THat is they could range the gamut of health the way humans do. But with RQ3/BRP the SIZ scale was expanded a bit, and CON was adjusted to help reflect the greater hit points and resistance of larger creatures, and, conversely the lower hit points and resistance of smaller creatures.

I did a bit on math on this but the simply answer is that CON (and STR) vary at 3/rd the rate of SIZ. Or, basically, an average animal's CON score should be about 3/rds it SIZ. Give or take a few points. So if you cat is SIZ 3, a CON and STR of 2 are about right.

Truthfully, small critters shouldn't be this unhealthy, but that's the quick fix. IMO the correct fix would be to replace the BRP formula for hit points with something that is sort of reverse the RQ 1-2 hit point formula. THat is Hit Points = SIZ plus a modifier for CON (1-3 = -3 4-6=-2 7-9= -1 13-15= +1, 16-18= +2, etc.
Smiley when you say that. :P

#4 fmitchell

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Posted 25 January 2014 - 05:45 PM

To be fair, small animals will have less resistance to human-sized doses of poison or drugs. Arguably they also have less resistance to cold due to the square-cube law, which is why small animals in cold climates have heavier fur or feathers.

Hm, this could get complicated.
Frank
"A hidden corridor! Fortunately it was labeled!" -- Sadie Doyle, "Beyond Belief: Sarcophagus Now", The Thrilling Adventure Hour

#5 Gollum

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Posted 25 January 2014 - 06:45 PM

Wow... Three answers in so little time! Thank you very much.

So, yes, after thinking a bit more about it, I came to the conclusion that a low Constitution score was not necessarily a bad idea. And I especially thought about poisons. The same dose of venom absolutely don't have the same effect on a rat than on an elephant! I didn't think at all about cold, however. I just didn't know that little creatures were more sensitive to it. Thank you for this data.

Thank you for the math about the relation between variation of Size and variation of Constitution too. It will be very helpful.

And finally, for all what you said, I think that the best solution is to split the Constitution score for little creature as well as very big ones... Indeed, it simplifies things a lot: when the creature is supposed to be more sensitive (poison, hit points...), you use the lower score. And when the creature is not supposed to be more sensitive, you use the higher one. A rat will suffer much farther from a given dose of poison than an elephant, but he won't necessarily have more chance to get an indigestion.

#6 Chaot

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Posted 25 January 2014 - 06:50 PM

If it helps, here is the write up on Cats from CoC's Dreamlands.

Cats
STR 1d3
CON 2d6
SIZ 1
INT 2d6+6
POW 2d6+6
DEX 2d6+24
Move 10

Weapons: Bite 30%, 1d4-db
Claw 40%, 1d3-db
Rip 80%, 2d3-db

Armor: none

Spells: able to leap through space to other worlds.

Sanity Loss: it costs no sanity to see a cat.

Habitat: Cities and the Dreamlands Moon.
70/420

#7 Gollum

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Posted 25 January 2014 - 09:29 PM

It helps, thank you. 2d6+24 for DEX? Wow!

#8 Chaot

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Posted 26 January 2014 - 03:38 AM

If you drop it down to 2d6+12 you would be in line with the Big Cats in the CoC core book.
70/420

#9 Michael Hopcroft

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Posted 26 January 2014 - 04:31 AM

It helps, thank you. 2d6+24 for DEX? Wow!

In some ways the cats of the Dreamlands were superhuman. They had their own culture and language (which Randolph Carter's dream form intuitively understood due to his friendship with them). They could show up in overwhelming numbers and take down creatures much larger than themselves through sheer weight of numbers. They made potent allies and terrifying enemies.

The more realistic cats in the campaign you're thinking of wouldn't have it nearly that high. Given how ubiquitous they are in fantasy I was surprised not to see cats in the BRP core book. One would think they'd be in there. Their INT would be much lower (though try convincing any cat "owner" of that!) and their DEX would probably be in the 2d6+6 range at most. Cats can't do fine manipulation of objects, though they dodge pretty well.

Edited by Michael Hopcroft, 26 January 2014 - 04:33 AM.


#10 Atgxtg

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Posted 26 January 2014 - 07:12 AM

To be fair, small animals will have less resistance to human-sized doses of poison or drugs. Arguably they also have less resistance to cold due to the square-cube law, which is why small animals in cold climates have heavier fur or feathers.

Hm, this could get complicated.


Not really. That's what SIZ is for. What some of us have been suggesting is using hit points instead of CON for resistance against toxins. That way you factor it for greater mass (SIZ).
Smiley when you say that. :P

#11 Gollum

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Posted 26 January 2014 - 07:50 AM

If you drop it down to 2d6+12 you would be in line with the Big Cats in the CoC core book.

Yes, of course.

#12 Gollum

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Posted 26 January 2014 - 08:01 AM

Their INT would be much lower (though try convincing any cat "owner" of that!) and their DEX would probably be in the 2d6+6 range at most. Cats can't do fine manipulation of objects, though they dodge pretty well.

Though I'm a cat owner, I absolutely do agree with INT. Cats are usually smart, but this is not the same kind of intelligence than humans. So, since INT is more than cleverness in BRP, and in every roleplaying games, actually, I'll go for INT of dogs and wolves, and tigers (which are sometimes very smart too): 5.

For DEX, I will still take a high level. Of course, cat's don't have fine manipulators. But they are still very quick to react, and not only for dodging. So, since, DEX is mainly used for combat initiative during the game (for dodging, climbing, jumping, etc., skills are used), a high DEX score is not a problem.

Oh, and thanks for the description of cats of Dreamlands. Though I play a lot to Call of Cthulhu, I never run a Dreamland campaign.

#13 Gollum

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Posted 26 January 2014 - 08:08 AM

Not really. That's what SIZ is for. What some of us have been suggesting is using hit points instead of CON for resistance against toxins. That way you factor it for greater mass (SIZ).

Another good solution, yes. And some RPG, like GURPS, even decided to base Hit Points directly on strength...

But, in my humble opinion, the split CON score is still the best solution. It allow to have to numbers: one when there is no difference between a little and a bigger creature (like illness, resistance to fatigue while running, walking very long distances...) and another one where the size is a difference. Using SIZ or another stat may be a very good solution, but it is still a bit strange... "Make a stamina roll" is more logical than "Make a size/Hit Point roll".

#14 RosenMcStern

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Posted 26 January 2014 - 11:08 AM

I think that the validity of this solution is dependant on how frequently you are supposed to roll for CON feats that are not related to SIZ.

This would be essentially fatigue, starvation, suffocation and exposure to disease. Poison and remaining combat ready after major damage are somehow SIZ related, as seen above.

If your animal companion is exposed to such conditions often, then the split CON scores might be a necessity. Otherwise, you might just go with a "+10 to CON when rolling for Stamina" to keep it simple.

#15 fmitchell

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Posted 26 January 2014 - 05:47 PM

Another good solution, yes. And some RPG, like GURPS, even decided to base Hit Points directly on strength...


To be fair, though, GURPS 1-3e did use HP = Health and FP = Strength. It makes intuitive sense until you realize the best wizards would be (sickly) bodybuilders ...

For simplicity, I'd go with reduced CON but a +5 (SIZ 6-10) or +10 (SIZ 1-5) for environmental hazards common in the creatures' native habitat. OTOH, domesticated animals like house cats and chihuahuas might feel the cold more keenly in inverse proportion to their SIZ, and get no bonus. For most drugs and poisons, maybe starting HP ((SIZ+CON)/2) instead of straight CON to factor in body mass.
Frank
"A hidden corridor! Fortunately it was labeled!" -- Sadie Doyle, "Beyond Belief: Sarcophagus Now", The Thrilling Adventure Hour

#16 Atgxtg

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Posted 26 January 2014 - 05:55 PM

Another good solution, yes. And some RPG, like GURPS, even decided to base Hit Points directly on strength...

But, in my humble opinion, the split CON score is still the best solution. It allow to have to numbers: one when there is no difference between a little and a bigger creature (like illness, resistance to fatigue while running, walking very long distances...) and another one where the size is a difference. Using SIZ or another stat may be a very good solution, but it is still a bit strange... "Make a stamina roll" is more logical than "Make a size/Hit Point roll".


Except that it means adding another stat, and one that would be highly similar to hit points, anyway.
Smiley when you say that. :P

#17 Gollum

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Posted 26 January 2014 - 07:06 PM

I think that the validity of this solution is dependant on how frequently you are supposed to roll for CON feats that are not related to SIZ.

This would be essentially fatigue, starvation, suffocation and exposure to disease. Poison and remaining combat ready after major damage are somehow SIZ related, as seen above.

If your animal companion is exposed to such conditions often, then the split CON scores might be a necessity. Otherwise, you might just go with a "+10 to CON when rolling for Stamina" to keep it simple.

I fully do agree. Except with the +10 to CON when rolling for stamina which is a bit high in my humble opinion. The average venomous snake of the big golden book creatures has a CON of 7, for instance. So, it would raise it to 17... Maybe a flat number like 10 for average creatures, 12 for resistant ones and 15 for really resistant ones could make the job.

#18 Gollum

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Posted 26 January 2014 - 07:17 PM

To be fair, though, GURPS 1-3e did use HP = Health and FP = Strength. It makes intuitive sense until you realize the best wizards would be (sickly) bodybuilders ...

Yes. The shift was introduced in the two Compendiums books, as an optional rule, and definitely adopted as the basic rule in the fourth edition. Now, in GURPS, Hit Points are based on Strength while Fatigue Points are based on Health, which makes much more sense - for wizard as well as for little and big creatures.

For simplicity, I'd go with reduced CON but a +5 (SIZ 6-10) or +10 (SIZ 1-5) for environmental hazards common in the creatures' native habitat.

Another good solution.

OTOH, domesticated animals like house cats and chihuahuas might feel the cold more keenly in inverse proportion to their SIZ, and get no bonus.

Yes. I do agree. Modern domesticated animals are not used to cold... But medieval ones, especially in farms, were more. Actually, farmers didn't feed them very much. They had to chase mouses and rats to eat.

For most drugs and poisons, maybe starting HP ((SIZ+CON)/2) instead of straight CON to factor in body mass.

As long as the lower CON score follows Hit Points, more or less, there is no need to have one more stat...

#19 Gollum

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Posted 26 January 2014 - 07:19 PM

Except that it means adding another stat, and one that would be highly similar to hit points, anyway.

You score a point here!

#20 Gollum

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 01:39 PM

After thinking a bit more about it, another solution could be to disconnect the constitution score and the stamina percentage. It would solve the problem in most cases (poisons use the Resistance Table) and would avoid to have one more stat (or a stat split in two).

Thus, an average cat could have CON 7, Stamina 50%.




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